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[Info provided by:Tom Brunt]
The non-violent approach taken on MacGYVER intrigued Skyvision. There was now a strong backlash against television violence. The TV version of Robocop doesn’t rack up a body count. Instead the cyborg finds an appropriate way to take the suspect into custody.

The production team for the TV series includes Ross and Gillis as executive producers, and Stephen Downing, formerly executive producer of MacGYVER for seven years. J. Miles Dale produces the show with Bob Wertheimer serving as line-producer.
Downing says, “MacGyver was a similar hero Robocop; a loner who fights against injustice, using his wits and humour to get him out of every situation possible.”

“Robocop is an Adaptive Cyborg and as such, has the ability to reason about appropriate force,” Downing Explains. “He has the judgement and mechanical skill to effectively apply reasonable force in all situations. Through the effect of Robovision (the computer readout projected on screen), we can see RoboCop make conscious choices not to use excessive force when alternatives exist in a controlled situation.

Violent action filled the original ROBOCOP motion picture. Downing says it doesn’t take much effort to stage a shoot-out in which everyone is blown away. He prefers more imaginative solutions to confrontations between RoboCop and the desperadoes.

“I would like to define another kind of hero,” Downing adds. “You have to think a little bit to accomplish things in another way. Take for instance the first movie, that situation where the guy had the Mayor hostage. RoboCop could have walked in and blown him away, but it was more entertaining to have him use his thermographic vision to locate the guy, reach through the wall and grab him.”

The world of ROBOCOP is very different from the contemporary setting of MacGYVER. Downing prepared for the series by immersing himself in Isaac Asimov’s robot books. Series star Richard Eden also followed this path. Describing their approach, Downing explains, “Science fiction is a very tight and narrowly defined world. We’re trying to be disciplined in our extrapolation of our future. Some people will not like it, some will. If there is a logic to it and it’s entertaining, then we’ve got it.”

RoboCop still carries his gun in his right leg, but it now has additional capabilities. The producer invented a “tagging” aspect so RoboCop can switch from lethal mode to firing an identification tag.
The gun fires a tiny identification tag encoded with the time of the “tagging” and the officer’s name. RoboCop later tracks this tagged person. In the pilot, RoboCop uses the gun to tag his son, Jimmy.
RoboCop’s left leg carries devices called S.C.A.D.s, or Suspect Containment Alternative Devices. These devices introduced in various episodes, include an inflatable balloon that traps people inside a boat or against a wall in a small room. There is also a bolo gun that whips around a fleeing person’s legs and trips them.

NEXT: Shaping the future